Irrational Precepts contender
Irrationally attributing actions and events to an unseen agent, (God), when the evidence clearly points elsewhere.
New Irrational Precepts contender:
I saw a recent memorable example of this on TV after Katrina. One disabled women was winched from the balcony of her house, where she had been stranded for 4 days. The Army had been alerted by an elderly neighbourhood friend and then ultimately rescued.
This woman was praising god for her rescue in front of her neighbour and the Army, both of which put themselves in danger to free her.
1/ Her actions irrationally attribute her salvation to this thing called God, when ALL the evidence points to her safety being secured by human beings.
2/ Following her likely belief system; She should have blamed god for her original predicament.
3/ Her gratitude is misplaced to the point of gross offence to her saviours.
Therefore: ?Irrationally attributing actions and events to an unseen agent, (God), when the evidence clearly points elsewhere? is not only irrational, but offensive.
1] Please define "objective reality"
2] How would you know you have access to "objective reality"?
3] Why do you presuppose the existence of rationality a priori?
4] 'Rationalty' is a non-material entity - atheists don't believe in non-material entities.
1. Objective reality is what we can establish as being common among different individuals,
no we can't, how would we establish that? The best you have is a "working assumption". That is not synonymous with objectivity.
By talking to them about what they perceive,
1] communication is not objective [ which is why back in the 60's we had the phenomena of 'defining philosophy'
2] as we know, perception is not common between individuals [as discrepancies between witness testimonies frerquently show]
I never claimed that a "working assumption" is synonymous with objectivity.
no, I don't think I said you did. I was getting the impression that I was being encouraged to draw it as an inference.
All I claim is that flexible "working assumptions" are the minimal starting point for making sense of our perceptions, in the absence of absolute 'objective' standards, which even if they existed, would be intrinsically unprovable, so leaving us no better off.
yes Bob we're agreed about the guts of this.......our difference is that Christians would [if they understand what they believe!] say that Christianity gives us access to an external [that's tautologious I suppose ] source of objectivity - that's why Jesus claimed to be the personification of 'truth' and why the Bible says things like, "the knowledge of God is the beginning of knowledge".......that's an epistemological statement of course.
and seems to persist through all our experiences.
"seems to" is not synonymous with objectivity either.
Again, I never claimed it was - biut it is the best we have.
agreed.......ie. from an atheist perspective.
There may well be aspects and regions of 'objective reality' which we don't have access to - if that is because of physical remoteness, then some form of perception or interaction with it is in principle still possible,
I'm not sure what you have in mind but in principle a christian would agree
so must be allowed for. If it because of some fundamental lack of any way to perceive or interact with it, even via external devices and instruments, then it can only be a speculation.
a Christian would say it can only be speculative up to the point of commitment.
A personal commitment in no way changes the epistemological status of a claim - that would be an extreme example of pure subjectivity/relativism.
the Biblical claim is that it changes the epistemology of the individual. Many thousands claim to have found it to be true. Your point regarding relativism would be true of course [and at an obvious philosophical level] were it not for the fact that the Biblical claim is that the Holy Spirit actually comes and indwells all believers. So their experience, both epistemological/psycholgical and spiritual [an aspect I know you don't accept-understandably] is not just solipsistic but corporate and communal.
2. Objective reality is automatically something we have access to, otherwise it wouldn't qualify as such, as per what we appear to have access to as in (1).
Polanyi [a scientist and not explicitly a christian] comprehensively sank objectivism 60 yrs ago.......it was the reason Oxford stopped teaching Logical Positivism. If we have no absolute we have no objectivity.
But I explicitly reject absolute objectivism, which is fundamentally all the Polanyi demonstrated.
Bob, am I being particularly dense?........if you don't have "absolute objectivism" what do you have but subjectivism. An issue may appear objective to you but it will be subjective to everyone else.......thus it will never be a universal.
IMHO, the nearest we can get to 'absolute' propositions are 'cogito ergo sum' and the axioms of logic (LOI and LNC).
yes, we can express via language or as reduced to mathematics as per Wittgenstein or Russell. I suggest that in principle that this is what you have said below........except that they were possibly still hopeful of establishing 'truth'[?].
What we do have are degrees of likelihood, probability, plausibility, etc, with a set of methodological tools, such as Bayes Theorem, to combine and refine our observations into more substantial explanatory frameworks and models of 'reality'. It this acceptance of a scale, of a range of possibility, of the necessity to be able to work without the chimera of 'objective' standards, whether of statements about the nature of the universe or of morality, rather than the memes encapsulated in the language of 'proof' and the dichotomy of 'true/false' as necessary for knowledge, that is an essential pre-requisite for moving beyond the dead-ends of metaphysics and philosophy which have ensnared great minds from time immemorial.
I cannot disagree with you, as I said before, that we are forced to use such methodology by what we know of our own epistemological shortcomings. You and I are both firmly agreed about this. My objection is that this very recognition should give us pause for thought in all areas of life. ie. Rationality implies consistency in the use of logic. The atheist comes on a site like this and [typically] boldly proclaims the non-existence of the God of the Bible and the obvious irrationality [to put it politely] of anyone who ventures to suggest even the possibility of such existence. I merely suggest that it is not so and request an argument supporting such a claim. So the atheist [typically] imports into his world-view a disconnect - precisely as Wittgenstein did when he declared that vis a vis 'God' we can only remain silent... well the notion all but refutes itself!!!!! Furthermore, those other "areas of life" include all those aspects of the human condition, love, morality, meaning, creativity, fulfillment, desire.....which are not simply subject to empirical analysis but which are what make us human.........however much you attach the word "social" to "science". You see, real scientists should object to this! This is where I disagree with your above statement, it is fundamentally reductionist.......it is what allows East Anglia University to fiddle tthe figures and the subsequent enquiry to find no-one guilty of anything. When law is the product of Hegelian Dialectic it is simply a matter of opinion. If a majority vote for hanging we'll vote for hanging - fine, we have statistical truth.......unless the issue is that a political elite in Brussels want a 'yes' in a referendum........in which case we'll keep holding the referendum until the 'plebs' come up with the answer they want! The balance between 'form' and 'freedom' goes down the shute. My argument is that when human rationality purports to be absolute it ends in Rationalism and then in absurdity. The increasing Stalinist mindset in the UK under the last govenment was becoming quite a joke just as it was in Russia. Did you hear about the nail factory in Russia whose production was measured by weight.......so they made one huge nail?!!!! .....a totally rationalistic response. After all, they weren't making nails for themselves.....the production target was everything!
Every value which makes humanity human dies. The UK has been good about this because people don't give a stuff about philosophy and understand it less......the nation is pragmatic but that's double-edged. When the shit finally hits the fan, they tend not to see it coming. Eighteen kids got knifed just in London last year......in my living memory, if one had been knifed there would have been total outrage. Atheists come on here and never look beyond themselves. We need to know whether it is absolutely, objectively right to hang a guy when there's no doubt he's murdered and WHY.....which you interestingly call a "chimera". You see atheism is all very well but my thesis is that humanity, including your humanity, slips through our fingers. The rationalistic scientist shuts the lab door and goes home to make love to his wife.........is he just meaninglessly copulating?.......what's all that about? If it's just about his pleasure......he can sort himself out. What's love got to do with anything in a universe heading for cold, barren, silence? His need for love denies his "nothing-but-material" view of what she is. My claim for Christianity is not simply that it is a crutch against that thought but that it actually explains why we need love.
Something we have no access to is irrelevant to and unknowable by us, whether 'material' or not.
the Christian asserts that access to God is possible.
Precisely - ALL you have is a set of naked assertions.
And you criticize 'empiricism' for making unjustified assumptions???
they would be "naked assertions" but for the fact that people put the pre-requisite of personal commitment to the test and find the claims of the Bible true. I think you undestand that I don't simplistically critisize empiricism. My [above] position is that the atheist is left holding an empty shell of what it means to be human.
3. That doesn't quite make sense - unless you mean the application of basic logic, which in turn is the minimum assumption to make sense of the universe, ie that there appear to be identifiably distinct entities, which are separate from the rest of perceived 'reality'.
you mean you are arguing for, material entities; non-material entities and some, as yet un-namamed 3rd category?
IOW the Law of Identity and the Law of Non-Contradiction. Without these starting assumptions, no meaningful discourse of any kind can take place, 'rational' or otherwise. That is all the justification required.
the fact that you need it is no justification whatsoever. The atheist borrows from the Christian world-view in order to deny it. Either the Laws of Logic are material or they are not.
They are not material, in the same sense that a piece of metal, an ocean, an atmosphere, are material. They are abstract propositions describing relationships between other 'entities' which may be material objects or other discrete propositions, and the implied consequences of such relationships.
Bob, when did "abstract propositions" cease to exist as 'thought'? Furthermore, we hold these particular 'thoughts' to have the status of universal laws eg the Law of Non-contradiction.......upon what conceivable basis? Since the basis itself must be rational........how, without an external reference point, would the atheist know it to be rational? The atheist assumes rationality like a fish assumes water. So you agree to non-material entities......such as God. Let's call him an abstract proposition......until you prove otherwise for yourself!
The Christian world-view borrowed (flawed) ideas from Aristotle and Plato.
it's a common misconception.........the remarkable thing is that Plato, in particular, got so close to the answer. I would point out that , historically, the Hebrews were there first.
4. Rationality is a concept, a procedure, in a separate ontological category from material objects, so there is no contradiction - it is not a "non-material entity', that would be a category error.
"concepts" exist as thought processes. Thought processes are non-material entities. You have the same problem with other thought processes as with the Laws of Logic. You wish to categorise them in a third category - identify it.
They are automatically in a third category, that of all such similar concepts, which are neither physical objects, not immaterial entities, they are abstract ideas.
"abstract ideas" are non-material entities.......if you want a sub-category, be my guest.
The existence of the 'material', ie matter, which is basically a version of the fundamental 'stuff' of reality which can maintain some degree of persistent form and structure, unlike 'energy', is necessary for any 'form' to exist and persist.
Without some foundation of persistent form, no complex structures could exist, and in turn, no complex, continuing processes could occur, so no emergent aspects of reality, such as life and awareness, could exist.
but this is only a restatement of the materialist credo. The christian would say that prior to a commitment it is merely unsubstantiated by you..........specifically vis a vis thought processes.
The Christian has nothing but a purely subjective PoV, ie NOTHING.
the same is true of the Atheist.
I have provided sufficient justification for my position, which will always be less than absolute.
You have yet to provide any for yours.
the rational justification is that the same absolute infinite personal God who made the Christian mind and indwells him, also made external reality and spoke propositional revelation through scripture. That is the basis upon which the Christian trusts external reality ie because it not only conforms to his subjective experience but it also conforms to revelation. It explains all the aspects of humanity which Atheism has no answer for........ but that is cold [but necessary] functionalism. It also brings him into personal relationship with God and gives him access to absolute objectivity.
IOW, complexity, structure, and process are totally dependent on persistent form, which is in turn dependent on something with the basic attributes of matter, so are intimately tied to the 'material' world-view.
see above - with an unregenerate epistemology, how would you know?
Atheism is a normal consequence of such a world-view, not a starting point, except in the purely negative sense that no specific entities should be presupposed without justification.
I agree.......I never advocate mindless faith.
What I stated about form is the result of mountains of scientific observation and theorizing, which while always provisional, does have masses of supportive argument - you have nothing but 'it feels right'.
if you lack Galileo's telescope you will end up with a "nothing-but" answer.......it will always be reductionist. You have to believe that the medium which carries the signal is synonymous with the signal. Common experience [apart from empirical evidence] tells us it is not so. The electro-magnetic signal from my guitar pick-ups to my speaker [with which I hope to express meaning] is not synonymous with the circuitry. The fact that Biblical propositions concur with observation [man is a personal being, he has moral drives, he has creative drives, he is great but flawed, he has a need to love and be loved , he has a need for purpose, meaning and an infinite reference point.]...... is not simply a matter of, "it feels right". Given the state of much Evangelicalism, I can understand you thinking this. If my recognition that I am objectively unable to attain moral perfection and habitually and consistently break God's law and my subsequent ditching of my autonomy and acceptance of his control over my life made no difference except to "feelings" then you might be correct.
Your faith may not be strictly 'mindless', but it is devoid of justification beyond the purely subjective.
'It appeareth in nothing more, that atheism is rather in the lip than in the heart of man, than by this: that atheists will ever be talking of that their opinion, as if they fainted it within themselves and would be glad to be strengthened by the consent of others.' Francis Bacon.